Remember back in 2019 – yes, in The Before Times – when a chestnut thoroughbred racehorse was calming grazing on the backstretch at Fort Erie Racetrack in Ontario and a giant sinkhole opened up and swallowed him whole? Well, that chestnut stallion, Mr. Changue, was lucky that day. The Fort Erie fire department, his trainer Ken Albu, and a host of other racetrack helpers managed to pull the horse free. It was a harrowing rescue, and Mr. Changue fortunately was sound enough to race again. And race he did, winning just two weeks after his ordeal.
But fast-forward to 2021, and according to the Paulick Report, Mr. Changue, now eight years old, is looking for a career change. Albu, who continued to train the stallion after his ordeal, noticed that the horse seems to have lost interest in the Sport of Kings.
“He just doesn’t want to do it no more,” Albu told the Paulick Report. “And I’m not going to hurt him to do it. Even though he’s at the barn and wants to train every day, he goes out there and he’s not performing to the top of his game. I know.”
Mr. Changue ran a total of 65 races and had nine wins, 17 seconds, and eight thirds, but Albu and the horse’s owner, Sam Passero, has agreed it’s time for the “sinkhole horse” to hang up his racing shoes and find another job. To that end, Albu is actively seeking a new home, a forever home, where hopefully Mr. Changue can be kept a stallion. The thoroughbred aftercare organization Longrun Thoroughbred Retirement Society is interested in taking on Mr. Changue, but they would have to geld the horse as per their policy. Albu is searching for an alternative as he maintains the stud is easygoing, saying, “He’s a gentleman… anyone can feed him. He has a lovely disposition.”
One thing is for sure, whoever does eventually adopt the ex-racehorse, Albu will keep in contact, and is ensuring that he will have a contract and get first right of refusal should the new home not work out.
“He’s kind of a special horse in my heart,” Albu told the thoroughbred racing outlet. “I thought we were going to lose him that day [he fell in the hole]. By the grace of God we didn’t, and he was able to go on and have a great career here … I’ve been training for 22 years and he’s one of the closest horses to my heart that I’ve ever had.”